John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Saturday, August 06, 2005
While I was out

First, realize how much I have been sucking on the free blogdrive tit for many months, then compare that to the basic benefits of a subscription here at  While I didn't make a point to share my various happy little secrets to get some subscription features like file hosting (or whatever) from free services, one of the reasons I talked so little about them is the reliablility factor.  Free web service sites limit your file size or bandwidth, go offline, or go out of business. Blogdrive has been a self-sustaining business since day one.

In the end, the fact that BlogDrive is here to stay made me cough up hard cash for a subscription.  One of the handy-fracking-dandy things even basic subscribers get is a Ban Control feature.  Ban Control allows you get rid of pesky tag board and comment spammers.  On the left is my proposed modified Ban Control feature for those tenacious spammers that keep coming back using proxy IP addresses.  I don't limit access to my tagboard and comment feature to only blogdrive users, like many blogdrivers do, simply because many of my regular visitors are just websurfing.

I don't mind if people pimp their blog or website from time to time here.  Oftentimes, I actually appreciate the convenience of being able to click on their name to go to their site.  What I won't tolerate are people who don't have any remotely relevant contribution to the topic of the blog entry in the comment area and are just being idiotic.  I'll give you an example.

For those of you who do not have BlogDrive accounts, or are not even familiar with using many online services, let me clue you in.  There is always an account  management area.  It's the under the hood, backdoor, behind the scenes version of what you see in your web browser when you visit a web site.

Since I wasn't able to monitor Thunderstorms because Direcway has been so lame for the last six weeks or so, my normal blog maintenance here has fallen behind schedule and little things like cleaning up the spammer crap piled up a bit.  Here is a cropped screenshot of my blog manage page showing the last ten comments:

As much as I like to perseverate on the happiness of my own penis, I don't need this crap showing up in comments on entries that I blogged in 2003 and 2004.  It's just annoying.  So, after banning these idiots, I found the spammers getting a little more subtle by leaving a comment, but just linking properly in their user names, like this:

Hats off to these 50webs gambling site spammers (above) for being a little more intelligent about it all, but it's still spam if you plaster this same identical mindless crap all over the blog on ten to twenty entries.

Look, I've owned a number of small businesses.  I never ran into the BlogDrive parking lot and plastered twenty identical bumper stickers advertising my business phone number on the same fracking car.  Despite Peter Jackson's apparent attempt at writing a Spam Haiku, this crap will be banned and deleted here, too.  Sorry, the volume of the spam is still annoying and stupid, even if call yourself Troy Cambron and leave me a rootin'-tootin' (listen to the headphones MP3) Spam Haiku.

[Headphones] :: The Dope Fiend - Troy Cambron (1940)

Friday, August 05, 2005
Pix - In the Shire

 In the Shire 
 by JfZ

"In the Shire"

Another Florida nature photo from around the hood.

This image is half-sized and has been converted into a bandwidth-friendly, lower resolution .JPG file.  If you want to use it on your web site as a background or for any other purpose, feel free to do so.  Simply respect the creative commons license.  Information about the creative commons license is always available by clicking through its icon located at the bottom of the left side panel on every blog page here.  If you would like the original frameless 960x1280 pixel version of this image, contact me.

[Headphones] :: In Winter's Embrace - Prelude - Yves "evillair" Allaire

Thursday, August 04, 2005
August updations

 JfZ played little league football
If you look at the blankness of the July 2005 blog entry calendar, you might be tempted to celebrate or grieve the possibility that I have been pushing up daisies, sleeping with the fish, or otherwise taking a dirt nap.  As usual, I'm pleased to deflate your hopeful expectations, despite your feelings.  Although I have been digitially deprived for a time, I've decided to continue to irritate you on Thunderstorms in the Imajica no matter what it takes.  And, yes, that is a photo of me -- over there -- many years ago.  I was an irritating little effer back then, and I'm not too likely to change my ways now.

But since I have been AWOL here for such an extended period of time, I thought I might uncharacteristically share some personal updations with you.  First, my customer service fight with Direcway continues.  Despite my hopeful expectations that a personal service call might fix my problem, it did not happen.  The guy told me, "your problem is that the trees are blocking your clear view of the southern sky," as is the Direcway slogan.  Unfortunately, the one tree he identified as a problem is a 50-year-old pine tree that could not have grown more than an inch in its canopy in the last six months.  He also pointed at an oak tree as an offender blocking my satellite signal.

Hours later on that same day as the Dway service call, I enlisted the help of my neighbor, Robbie, and we cut the half of that tree down that might be anywhere remotely near my precious, precious, satellite uplink.  Also that same day, I got an estimate from a tree service contractor to completely remove the supposedly offending pine tree.  I don't have the $1100.00 they want for tree removal in my secret coffee can of kitchen cash for that, especially considering the Direcway satellite guy's troubleshooting methodology.

The Direcway service tech did get out of his truck.  He did knock on my door  However, he did not even touch the satellite dish, or look at my system, or even want to know what error messages were flickering across my monitor.  He did stare at my car hood-sized satellite dish for several minutes, and then told me that the trees were my problem.  Those trees were there when Direcway was more than happy to install the satellite ISP system.  They haven't grown or jumped around the yard in the last six months, have they?  No. So, I'm back to square one with Direcway and calling customer service in India.

But, I have some good news.  With the generous help of several neighbors, Kathy, Robbie, and Larry, I bartered and traded up through four levels of bicycles to finally get one that my lame ass can pedal.  That's huge.  Limping my sorry ass to Winn Dixie for a two hour trip to haul groceries back home in my backpack was getting seriously old, fast.  My maiden voyage on the bicycle, which I will refer to as the Post Apocalyptic Fat Boy from now on, was a success.  With the additional cargo capacity of a cute little front basket, in addition to my back pack, I was able to resupply my humble home with over forty pounds of groceries on that first trip.
I also finally ordered a land line from Sprint.  So, after almost a year, I'll have a telephone number again.  I plan to create a backup dial-up ISP account.  More importantly though, I should be able to call Direcway's Customer Service phone number everyday, at all hours of the day, continuously, until those frackin' people restore my internet service to some basic idea of reliability.  As it is now, I may get a window of connectivity between 2:00pm and 7:00pm, *if* it doesn't happen to rain that day.  Unfortunately, it rains everyday in Florida in the afternoon during this time of year.  So, I can literally measure my time online in minutes for an entire week, lately.  My new landline doesn't have long distance.  It is an unlisted number, but I was told that I can accept collect calls on it, should you become unexpectedly incarcerated and want to waste your only jailhouse call by dialing my number.

Well, that about wraps it up for me lately.  You may not see many entries with a large number of links in them this next month.  Creating links takes time online.  This particular entry was typed up in notepad, offline, and I added the HTML manually.

[Headphones] :: Free Will - Akira3099

Sunday, July 31, 2005
Tag Board Archive - July 2005

Everyone!  Into the pool!!
So ... why?  Well, I go through the TAG board periodically (or when asked) and delete entries.  Mainly I delete your entries because it reloads the page periodically or when you add a new entry for chatting and when it gets too large, it takes up bandwidth loading constantly.  My general rule was this: if you put an annoying little smilie emoticon on the TAG, that entry was the first to go when I cleaned house.

The second rule: if the entry was older.  But the second rule bummed me out because I hate to throw away memories, so, some entries were deemed to be classics and had to be preserved (like Hygelic reading my blog in the bathroom on his cell phone).

Then the first and second rules unfortunately clashed when it came to old school phreeks who might put an ascii emoticon at the end of their sentence, like Skennedy (et al).  These people were violating my first unstated rule through no fault of their own, and, because the programmers of the TAG board must have thought to themselves, "how handy-fucking-dandy would it be if we just translated every ascii emoticon to a different happy little yellow face?"  So, they dropped another few hits of Exstacy, patted each other on the back and went back to coding the TAG board.

So, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing -- I've decided to archive the TAG board here for all to see -- and still be able to delete older entries (and keep the TAG.html small) with a clear conscience.  I normally archive halfway through the month.

Read 2005 Archive: [June][May][April][March][February][January]

Read 2004 Archive: [December][November][October][September][August][July]
[Prior to July 2004]

Innerlyly What's with the new fan club?
Snowblind hmmm
Snowblind well off to bed....
Snowblind Greetz Jfz from an old 810 imajica visitor. You were in Farmington correct? Bookmarking this page just in case I'm not so much in need of sleep and find my way back... feeling nostalgic and found here
Bobby&Kato how that ugly guy get six we want her!
Bobby six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot! six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot! six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot! six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot! six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot! six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot!
Bobby the cow thing looks fuck'en ugly!
Bobby we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we
Bobby&Kato we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we wanna fuck six!we
Bobby yang
Kato Lee
Kato Lee six is so fuck'en sexxy & hot!
kato&bobby this shit is tight 1
J f Z Happy Birthday, Melicious!
ssprite *bangs on door - let me innnnnnnnnn let me innnnnn hehehe
Isola Hello hun, long time since i last talk to you, Hope your having a great day!!!
Lyly Congrats J f Z.
canis lupis Hey JFZ, how's everything dude? Hope you're doing fine in sunny Florida, I see you folks are having it tough down there with the hurricane business and all. Hang ten, dude
wailfulrhyme meow.
Brynn hey you. i miss talking to ya. i hope you're doing well.
J f Z Spritey: Almost 10 years ago, when some of us were actively fighting censorship of the net by the government, one unofficial phrase was "Don't Barney the net." He is so lame, he makes my teeth hurt.
J f Z Both Dennis' are in Ohio now. Heh. Although I think the next one, next weekend, may be more worrisome for central Florida.
Brandon Starr Hi, JfZ. I hope Dennis misses you...
ssprite OH and before i forget - a friend yesterday saw a man that looked swishy & said to me: g a y spells queer - i looked over at her astounded - i didnt know she was homophobic or a name caller
ssprite hey JFZ hope this sunny TGIF finds you doin well - and this may seem stupid, but i actually liked Teletubbies but hated Barney the purple dino - but Grouch has always been my fav
J f Z <-- I know Lyly. I 've had some ISP problems. I'm lucky to spew out some Dark Skies lately. I'm working the issue, though.
Mirror Ball Please let me know. The subject is "Anthems"...
Mirror Ball Greetings John. I've been trying to send you an invite to my music blog, Aria, but I don't know your actual username. I tried J_f_Z, Jfz, JFZ, John Furie Zacharias, etc.
Lyly are too quiet these days.
Ayumi thankie! i really didn't think they were all that special..but it was nice..that i though the way!!! ^^ thankies for visiting my blog!

[^ TOP ^]

[Headphones] :: BaD DoG Karaoke v1.0 - JfZ

Posted at 12:43 pm by John Furie Zacharias

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Monday, July 25, 2005
Customer Service Hell

 Directway Support Sucks
Despite being digitally-deprived for the month of July, I have had some limited time to post entries on Dark Skies and even few on the new group blog, Brilliant Weeds.  I've even had to carry a few entries on floppy over to a neighbor's house to post them.  I guess I could have mirrored a few Dark Skies entries here this past month, but I didn't because I've always maintained Thunderstorms as more of a graphical blog.  Finding or creating new graphics for entries here takes time online that I haven't had.  My ISP, Direcway satellite, has been pissing me off for weeks.  First, their customer support staff is somewhere in India.  I went through a half dozen hour-long phone calls with them -- over the course of weeks -- which obviously fixed nothing.

After insisting that they send someone to me to fix their dish, my trouble was finally referred to another contractor here in the states.  After weeks of this fracking merry-go-round, I was finally happy and hopeful, except for one problem -- the contractor never called me.  After more long phone calls to Direcway and tracking down the actual contractor's phone number, I found out another problem.  The contractor never called me because Direcway gave them the wrong telephone number for me and the contractor had been calling the wrong number, and getting no response, they finally gave up and cancelled the service call.nbsp; Thanks, Direcway, for your further incompetence has compounded an already dismal display of customer service.

It's truly unfortunate that it is against FCC regulations for me to climb up the fracking eight-foot pole and re-align the satellite dish myself.nbsp; Unlike the more common small satellite dishes that simply receive television signals, my dish actually transmits microwave signals back up to the satellite.  I imagine the FCC thought it might be wise not to let angry people mess with it.  I don't know the actual strength of the microwave signal, but there's no need to allow people to accidentally aim the dish at their neighbors and sterilize them, or cook their cat, or something.

The good news is that Direcway did finally get its act together enough to refer my case to the contractor.  The bad news is that the contractor and Direcway have absolutely no co-ordination between each other.  They can't even refer to each other's working case numbers, but instead assign their own internal numbers for tracking progress.  So, when some tech support guy in India finally capitulates to the customer's wishes and refers a case, but gives bad information, like a wrong contact phone number, I get to sit around, wait another week and wonder why the hell nothing is happening.

After tracking down the U.S. contractor and discovering how absolutely useless Direcway customer support has been for weeks, I finally got an appointment for service.  I'm very happy about that, but I'm not too confident about the whole thing.  When I asked if the service guy will be bringing a spare DW6000 satellite modem, the contractor told me that don't do that.

What the fracking hell?!  There are only two parts to this problem -- the dish or the indoor unit.  So, apparently, if it is the indoor unit, I get to go back to square one with these fracking idiots.  I'll find out Tuesday.  If I have to start completely over with Direcway customer service in India, you might just get to hear my voice on one of those infamous screaming customer service audio files.

[Headphones] :: Free Will - Akira3099

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